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A Complete Guide To Winter Tires

September 18, 2021

 

It's (almost) the most dreaded time of the year for enthusiasts...winter. 

Even if you love drifting around in the snow in unplowed parking lots, the cold and icy weather isn't the most exciting time of the year—car shows and meetups are nonexistent, and plenty of enthusiasts park their summer cruisers to avoid road salt as if it were the plague. 

For those of you who power through the snow in your sporty summer car, winter beater, or AWD beast, winter tires are probably on your radar come fall time. 

 

BUILD YOUR WHEEL + WINTER TIRE PACKAGE

 

2017 Subaru WRX Premium running Enkei RPF1 in 18x9 +35 wrapped in BFGoodrich G-force Sport Comp-2 245/40 and running Fortune Auto Coilovers

2017 Subaru WRX Premium

There's a lot to know when it comes to winter tires and whether or not they're actually worth buying compared to a good set of all-season tires. 

So, here's a complete guide on everything you need to know about winter tires before you throw some on your winter beater/daily. 

 

Winter Tire Guide | Table of Contents:

- What are winter tires?

- 3 Main Components of Winter Tires

   - The Glass Transition Temperature

- All-Season Tires vs. Winter Tires

- Do you still need winter tires if you have an AWD car?

- How long do winter tires last?

- Do winter tires wear quicker?

- What is the Three-Peak Mountain Snowflake Rating? 

- Winter tires and gas mileage

- Winter Tires and Studs

- Does your state allow studded tires?

 - When should you switch to winter tires?

- Do winter tires wear quicker?

- Final Thoughts: Are winter tires worth it?

- Our favorite winter tires

 

A mint green 2010 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution GSR running Cosmis Racing SI wheels, Nitto Neo Gen tires, and Tein Coilovers

2010 Mitsubishi Lancer Evo GSR

 

 

 

What are winter tires?

Without stating the obvious, winter tires are a must if you live in a state that sees any type of snow, ice, or slush. And it's all about the rubber compound

Winter tires use a soft rubber compound with loads of siping in the tread pattern to optimize traction on slippery surfaces like snow and ice. 

 

EXPLORE WINTER TIRES

 

Dakota's Mitsubishi Lancer Evo in a snowy field

Dakota's Mitsubishi Lancer Evo

It's also important to mention that some winter tires are developed for specific markets for our buddies up in Europe, for example, so their winter tire formulas may look different than a North American tire.

Regardless, a good set of winter tires on your AWD, FWD, or RWD winter beater will make all the difference in winter weather. 

 

 

 

 

3 Main Components of Winter Tires

Three main characteristics of winter tires make them the best in the game for winter weather driving:

- Winter-formulated rubber compound

- Tread blocks with biting edges

- Siping...lots of siping.  

 

#1 Rubber Compound:

The first and most important characteristic that distinguishes winter tires from any other tire is their rubber/tread compound. 

Winter tires are specifically engineered using soft and pliable hydrophilic rubber compounds that can withstand extremely cold temperatures. 

 

READ THIS BEFORE BUYING WHEELS + TIRES

 

2004 Subaru WRX STI driving in the snow running Enkei RPF1 wrapped in Toyo Tires Proxes 4 Plus tires and BC Racing coilovers

2004 Subaru WRX STI 

Your typical rubber compound is made up using elements like natural and synthetic rubber, oil, silica, and carbon black. 

Winter tires use special blends of these materials to manipulate what's called the Glass Transition Temperature—as the temperature goes down, the stiffness of the material goes down.

Since you want winter tires to remain soft even when it's cold-as-balls outside, you want to lower the glass transition temperature. 

The lower the glass transition temperature, the better the snow performance.

The higher the glass transition temperature, the better the dry performance. 

 

A 2004 Subaru WRX STI running Enkei RPF1 wrapped in Toyo Tires Proxes 4 Plus tires out in the snow

2004 Subaru WRX STI 

 

 

 

The Glass Transition Temperature

So, what really is the glass transition temperature, and why is it important?

The glass transition temperature is when the friction forces within the compound are at their highest, which translates to maximum tire grip. 

Rubber alone will break like glass in freezing temperatures but will become too hot and flexible in warm temperatures, so finding the right balance for optimum grip in a set of winter tires, otherwise known as the glass transition temperature, is key. 

 

The glass transition temperature scale for winter tire performance

Image from Engineering Explained | The Glass Transition Temperature

This is not an easy task, though. Companies like Michelin have dumped thousands of dollars into R&D to perfect their winter tire formulas because the rubber makes all the difference.

They've even applied some of their research into their all-season tires too.  We'll discuss all-season tires more in a bit. 

 

2019 Subaru WRX STI with Artisa ArtFormed Elder wheels wrapped in the Michelin X-Ice XI3

2019 Subaru WRX STI | Michelin X-Ice XI3 245/35

#2 Lots of Tread Blocks:

The most noticeable feature of winter tires is the tread blocks with biting edges that fill the contact patch.

Most of the time, the blocks sport irregular shapes with sharp edges to grab the snow better.

Winter tires have a higher "void-to-lug" ratio, which basically means there are more grooves and channels between the tread blocks.

While the tread blocks themselves are small, they are vast throughout the contact patch compared to all-season and summer tires.

 

The tread patter of the Michelin X-ICE IX3. Explore Michelin tires here at Fitment Industries!

Michelin X-ICE XI3

These tread blocks help grab and pack snow in the deep grooves/channels between the tread blocks for better overall grip on snowy and icy roads.

Again, it's that snow-on-snow traction that you want. And if you live anywhere like Wisconsin, this is a MUST. 

 

The tread pattern of the Michelin X-ICE XI3 meant for snow, ice, and slush!

Michelin X-ICE XI3

More tread blocks equal better winter traction, but they also contribute to more road noise since more air is funneled through the tread pattern when driving. This is a downside to some winter tires.

But, most manufacturers have come so far in their tread pattern designs, rubber compounds, and the actual manufacturing processes, so road noise is usually tolerable in today's winter tires. 

 

Dakota's 2003 Volkswagen GTI running the Nexen Winguard

Dakota's 2003 Volkswagen GTI | Nexen Winguard 

The tread pattern of winter tires will change depending on the manufacturer and even the market the tires were made for, but almost all winter tires are designed with directional tread patterns

The is because the tread blocks are placed in specific areas that best grab and pack snow while funneling water through its channels to prevent hydroplaning.

However, tires like the Nexen WinGuard Sport 2 and Michelin X-Ice XI3 use variations of asymmetrical tread patterns that still perform very well. 

 

CAN YOU RUN BAGS IN THE WINTER?

 

A black 2019 Subaru WRIX STI running the Artisa ArtFormed Elder with the Michelin X-ice Xi3 and stock suspension

2019 Subaru WRX STI | Artisa Artormed Elder 18x9.5 +35 |  Michelin X-Ice XI3 245/35

Don't forget that directional tread patterns have to be mounted on your winter beater in the rotation the tread is going.

There's always markings on the sidewall of the tire that indicate which direction they should be rotating.

You can also look at the tread pattern and figure it out pretty easily. 

 

A red 2003 Subaru WRX in the snowy mountains

2003 Subaru WRX 

#3 Siping...lots of siping:

The 3rd main characteristic of winter tires is the hundreds of sipes throughout the tread pattern.

Sipes are small, zig-zag cuts in the tread blocks that create biting edges into the snow for better traction. 

 

Tire siping on a Nexen Wingaurd Sport 2

Tire siping on a Nexen Winguard Sport 2

As I previously mentioned, snow-on-snow traction is much better for grip. Since the rubber compound is much softer in cold weather than a summer tire, the tread will flex when driving in the snow. 

With more siping comes more biting edges to grab the snow and pack it in those pockets, thus, providing more grip so you can skrt skrt without losing traction. 

 

EXPLORE POPULAR WINTER TIRES

 

2003 Subaru WRX 

Believe it or not, siping also improves the mileage rating of winter tires.

While all the tread blocks on winter tires are great for traction, they can lead to uneven wear, which means you'll have to replace them more often.

But, siping allows the tread blocks to flex, which is even better for traction AND reduces the uneven wear winter tires can sometimes see. 

 

A black 2016 Ford Focus ST running the Aodhan AH09 with some Federal595 RS-RR tires and raceland coilovers

2016 Ford Focus ST 

Some aftermarket tire manufacturers will have sipes within the tire mold that create reinforced tread-block structures, while others will use a specialized siping machine to do the work after the tire is already molded. 

By using advanced molding processes, tire manufacturers are actually able to increase the surface area, which provides better traction. They can also make 3-dimensional sipes using this process.

3D sipes can both flex and interlock to provide the best grip possible. 

 

A mint green Evo crusing in a winter wonderland

2010 Mitsubishi Lancer Evo GSR

 

 

All-Season Tires vs. Winter Tires

Part of the reason you may have clicked on this blog in the first place was to determine how your all-seasons compare to dedicated winter tires. 

Let's start with the hard truth: all-season tires are not very good at any particular thing—they have to make compromises.

Due to the glass transition temperature, rubber compounds can't maintain peak operating performance in both freezing and hot-as-balls weather—it's just not in the science.

With an advanced tread pattern coupled with a versatile rubber compound, you can have all-seasons that perform very well in both conditions, but they are far and few between.

 

THE ULTIMATE TIRE GUIDE

 

Gel's 2013 Scion FR-S running the Artisa ArtFormed Carrier and Tien coilovers

@gels.fi's 2013 Scion FR-S 

So, what are all-season tires really? All-season tires are the middle ground between your average winter and summer tires, displaying characteristics of both.

But, they usually can't perform as well as summer tires AND winter tires. 

Michelin's Cross Climate 2 is one of the very few all-season tires that finds a nearly perfect balance of winter + summer/all-weather performance. 

All-season tires also don't have nearly as many sipes, if any at all. That biting edge is essential to maintain good traction in snow and ice. 

 

CHECK OUT THE CROSS CLIMATE 2

 

Dakota's Evo rippin around in the snow!

Dakota's Mitsubishi Lancer Evo

 

 

 

Do you still need winter tires if you have an AWD car?

Yes. Yes, yes, and yes. 

I hate to break it to yah, but AWD doesn't mean your car can handle the snow perfectly.

Does AWD help in the snow? Absolutely. There's no denying that.

 

AWD VS WINTER TIRES. HERE'S THE TRUTH.

 

 

You can put your power down better than an FWD or RWD car can, but it doesn't mean much if the only real connection your car has to the road, aka your tires, are not meant for the road conditions.

In fact, if you had to choose between an AWD car or winter tires during the wintertime, winter tires are going to do the job much better. Don't underestimate the power of a good set of tires! 

 

A modified white Subaru WRX STI in the snow

2011 Subaru WRX STI 

The real function of AWD is to give all four wheels/tires an equal power distribution, but it doesn't help with braking or traction. ABS and traction control helps too, but tires do a lot of the work too.

So, if you live somewhere with a real winter and have an AWD car, you should absolutely still consider getting winter tires for a safer ride.

Plus, it's fun to whip it around in the snow when you can have more control over your car. Nobody likes crashing into poles because they can't control their car in the snow... 

 

A mint green evo doing donuts in the snow

2010 Mitsubishi Lancer Evo GSR

 

 

What is the Three-Peak Mountain Snowflake Rating? 

The Three-Peak Mountain Snowflake rating indicates that a tire has met or exceeded legal requirements on performance standards in severe winter weather conditions.

In other words, a tire has been tested and proven to perform in the worst of winter weather conditions. 

 

CHECK OUT THE GALLERY

 

2019 Subaru WRX STI with Artisa ArtFormed Elder wheels wrapped in the Three-Peak Mountain Certified Michelin X-Ice XI3

2019 Subaru WRX STI | Artisa Artformed Elder 18x9.5 +35 |  Michelin X-Ice XI3 245/35

This rating was established by the U.S. Tire Manufacturers Association (USTMA) and Rubber Manufacturers Association (RMA) back in 1999 to make it easier for drivers like you to find tires that live up to winter performance standards that so many manufacturers claim. 

A tire with this rating will have a traction index of 110 or greater, which rates its ability to stop on wet pavement. This rating uses an alphabetical system—AA, A, B, and C—with AA being the highest.

 

A White 2019 Subaru WRX STI cruising around in winter with some Michelin X-Ice XI3 tires

2019 Subaru WRX STI 

When you're looking for snow tires, this is definitely something to look out for. You'll be able to tell if a tire has this certification by looking for the little mountain symbol on the tire sidewall. 

And with all the advancements in tire technology, there are even some all-season tires that have this certification as well. 

You may also see an "M+S" symbol on your tire sidewall. This is a step down to the Three-Peak Mountain Snowflake certification meaning the tires can handle less severe winter weather. 

 

Three peak mountain snowflake rating on the a tire sidewall

Photo from Michelin

 

 

Winter tires and gas mileage

Gas mileage and tires are always a hot topic because gas is expensive—at least right now in 2021.

When it comes to fuel efficiency and tires, the rolling resistance of a tire is what matters.

Rolling resistance is the lost energy when the tire is rolling. 

 

FITMENT CALCULATORS

 

A white modified 2010 Infiniti Q50 Premium in the wintertime!

2014 Infiniti Q50 Premium 

Since winter tires have soft rubber compounds, their rolling resistance is higher, meaning it takes more work to keep 'em rolling. 

This will end up creating more work for your engine, which ultimately worsens gas mileage. However, it won't be a super noticeable difference in reality. 

While this kind of sucks, having a safe set of winter tires and paying a little more for gas vs. a crappy set of summer or all-season tires is totally worth it. 

If you decide to run winter tires in the summer, then yes, you can plan for getting worse gas mileage—but that should be expected.

 

@noskool.fi's 2020 BMW M2 Competition

 

 

 

Winter Tires and Studs

What about winter studs?

Some winter tires come with tiny pinholes purposefully placed throughout the tread pattern for studs.

Studs are small metal spikes that break up snow-packed roads and dig into the ice for effortless winter driving.

 

Studded winter tires from Michelin

Photo from Michelin

Studs/studded tires were first used back in the 60s as an alternative to using chains, which can also provide better traction in ice and deep snow.

But, since studded tires can damage your average pavement, there've been bans of studs across the U.S. There are studs made out of rubber, but some states still don't mess with it. 

Regardless, studded tires provide the best winter traction in snow and ice that you would get from a winter tire. On the other hand, studded tires are worse traction on regular paved roads with no snow or ice. Studded tires can also damage the pavement big time if the roads are clear. 

 

Studded winter tires on a Subaru WRX STI

Photo from Engineering Explained

In the right conditions, studs make a massive difference in acceleration, cornering, driving control, and braking

Compared to studless winter tires, studded tires will almost always have a shorter braking distance. Some tests have even recorded up to 15% shorter stopping distances compared to studless winter tires. 

 

BUILD YOUR WHEEL + TIRE PACKAGE HERE

 

A black modified 2008 Chevy Corvetter with the Artisa ArtFormed Elder, Yokohama ADVAN Apex V601 tires, and BC DS series coilovers

2008 Chevy Corvette

Studded tires are really only appropriate for off-road use or if you live somewhere like Alaska, Canada, or states with super winters where snow and ice-packed roads are the norm.

Like I mentioned before, a lot of states have actually banned studded tires.

Only six states have no restrictions against studs, including Colorado, Kentucky, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Vermont, and Wyoming. If you live here in Wisconsin, studded tires are not street legal at all. 

Some states only allow rubber studs to prevent road damage, and others allow any type of winter stud but only during certain times of the year with restrictions. 

 

A black modified Chevy Corvette doing donuts in an unplowed parking lot!

2008 Chevy Corvette 

 

 

Does your state allow studded tires?

Alabama - Rubber studs are allowed.

Alaska - Metals studs are allowed with restrictions. Duh. 

Arizona - Metals studs are allowed with restrictions.

Arkansas - Metals studs are allowed with restrictions.

California - Bruh, you don't even get snow, but metals studs are allowed with restrictions.

Colorado - Metal Studs are permitted for obvious reasons...

Connecticut - Metals studs are allowed with restrictions.

Delaware - Metals studs are allowed with restrictions.

Florida - Rubber studs are allowed ( don't ask why...). 

Georgia - Metal Studs are permitted.

Hawaii - Metals studs are allowed with restrictions. 

Idaho - Metals studs are allowed with restrictions.

Illinois - Studs of any kind are illegal for street use.

Indiana - Metals studs are allowed with restrictions.

Iowa - Metals studs are allowed with restrictions.

Kansas - Metals studs are allowed with restrictions.

Kentucky - Metal Studs are permitted.

Louisiana - Rubber studs are allowed.

Maine - Metals studs are allowed with restrictions.

Maryland - Metals studs are allowed with restrictions.

Massachusetts - Metals studs are allowed with restrictions.

Michigan - Studs of any kind are illegal for street use.

Minnesota - Studs of any kind are illegal for street use.

Mississippi - Studs of any kind are illegal for street use.

Missouri - Metals studs are allowed with restrictions.

Montana - Metals studs are allowed with restrictions.

Nebraska - Metals studs are allowed with restrictions.

Nevada - Metals studs are allowed with restrictions.

New Hampshire - Metal Studs are permitted.

New Jersey - Metals studs are allowed with restrictions.

New Mexico - Metal Studs are permitted.

New York - Metals studs are allowed with restrictions.

North Carolina - Metal Studs are permitted.

North Dakota - Metals studs are allowed with restrictions.

Ohio - Metals studs are allowed with restrictions.

Oklahoma - Metals studs are allowed with restrictions.

Oregon - Metals studs are allowed with restrictions.

Pennsylvania - Metals studs are allowed with restrictions.

Rhode Island - Metals studs are allowed with restrictions.

South Carolina - Metal Studs are permitted.

South Dakota - Metals studs are allowed with restrictions.

Tennessee - Metals studs are allowed with restrictions.

Texas - since Texas gets a lot of snow, rubber studs are allowed (got yah). 

Utah - Metals studs are allowed with restrictions.

Vermont - Metal Studs are permitted.

Virginia - Metals studs are allowed with restrictions.

Washington - Metals studs are allowed with restrictions.

West Virginia - Metals studs are allowed with restrictions.

Wisconsin - Studs of any kind are illegal for street use. RIP. 

Wyoming - Metal Studs are permitted.

 

 

Do winter tires wear quicker?

This is often debated in the industry, but most tire manufacturers will say that winter tires do not wear any quicker than an all-season tire in their optimal conditions. 

Winter tires are formulated to handle winter weather like snow, slush, ice, and freezing temperatures, so assuming you only drive your winter tires in these conditions, they will be just fine.

This is not the case if you run them in the summer.

 

A slammed 2004 Infiniti G35 running The Artisa Elder and Nitto Motive tires

2004 Infiniti G35 

Their rubber compounds are not meant to handle hot pavement, so this will wear them down much faster. 

If you swap your tires from winter to summer (and vice versa), your winter tires won't wear any quicker than its suppose to, assuming you're taking care of them appropriately. 

 

A Mazda MX-5 Miata in a winter weather storm!

2016 Mazda MX-5 | UniRoyal Tiger Paw

 

 

 

How long do winter tires last?

Typically, winter tires will last around 3 to 4 winter seasons, IF you swap them out for summer or all-season tires during the spring/summer months.

If you run winters all year round, don't expect them to last more than 2 seasons. Their rubber compound isn't meant to handle the dry, hot pavement and will wear down much quicker if you don't switch them out. 

If you run winter tires only during the wintertime and take care of them, they will last you up to 4 seasons. 

 

Alex's Porsche 911 rippin' around in the wintertime

@alex.fi's Porsche 911

 

 

When should you switch to winter tires?

If you switch your summer or UHP all-seasons to winter tires every year, you'll most likely mount your winter set during October or November when temperatures start to really get chilly.

The general rule of thumb is when the temperature falls below 46°F—this is when winter tires perform best!

 

A slammed 1988 Honda Civic DX running the Work VS KF wrapped in Advanta Atr-k and stock suspension

1988 Honda Civic DX

It's never a bad idea to get your winter set on a little early because if your state is bipolar like Wisconsin is, you may get some snow or ice early.

I almost always get my winter set mounted in late October/November so I'm ready BEFORE temperatures drop too much. But, you don't want to do it too early. 

The best way to figure the best time to switch tires is by looking at your region's average temperature per month. You can easily find this info on the Google. 

Come April and May and most people will switch back to their summer set of tires. 

 

A Miata doing donuts in the snow

2016 Mazda MX-5 | UniRoyal Tiger Paw

 

 

Final Thoughts: Are winter tires worth it?

If you made it this far, that's sick.

You've probably determined this for yourself already, but yes, winter tires are definitely worth it IF you live somewhere that actually experiences a snow, ice, and slush-filled season.

More than anything, winter tires are much more safe compared to your average all-season.

They'll stop quicker when all of a sudden, everyone forgets how to drive in the snow and slams on the brakes.

They'll provide better stability when you're cruising down the road, and your traction will be noticeably better. 

 

 

I personally have a winter and summer set on my daily/winter beater because Wisconsin's winter can get super snowy and icy. 

I ran all-seasons on winter, and they just don't compare to a good set of dedicated winter tires. 

If you're a highway driver or find yourself often driving, it would be advantageous to grab a winter set too. 

 

Dakota's 2003 Volkswagen GTI | Nexen Winguard 

 As far as getting studded tires for your winter car, I would only grab some if you plan on going off-road in some badass winter wonderland or have some winter autocross days coming up. You'll be able to get off the line quicker and stop faster. 

You can buy tires with those pinholes I discussed earlier and have your local tire shop install studs using a stud gun. 

Make sure your state allows studded tires first! 

 

Dakota's 2003 Volkswagen GTI | Nexen Winguard 

 

 

Our Favorite Winter Tires

Now that you have a solid foundation on everything that makes up a winter tire, here are a few of our favorite badass winter tires that we'll always recommend.

They have proven to be worthy of every winter weather condition that mother nature could throw at you. 

 

 

Michelin X-Ice XI3

The X-ice XI3 is one of our most popular winter tires, and for good reason. 

Using Michelin's Flex Ice Silica rubber compound, the X-Ice XI3 maintains the ideal balance between a soft and pliable rubber compound to flex in the snow, while having the block rigidity to provide steering stability on the road. 

 

GET THE MICHELIN X-ICE XI3

 

2019 Subaru WRX STI with Artisa ArtFormed Elder wheels wrapped in the Three-Peak Mountain Certified Michelin X-Ice XI3

2019 Subaru WRX STI | Michelin X-Ice XI3 245/35

Michelin also injected their Green X technology within the tread makeup that reduces its rolling resistance, increasing fuel efficiency. 

The asymmetrical tread pattern packed with super-deep tread blocks and 3D siping acts as a claw to the snow for that snow-on-snow traction. 

 

 

Quick Facts | Michelin X-Ice XI3

- 15% more block edges + 30% more block stiffness for an extra season of wear

- Ideal for areas with extremely snow-packed roads

- Patented Multicell ™ Technology 

- Starting at $459

 

VIEW MICHELIN XICE SIZES HERE

 

2019 Subaru WRX STI | Michelin X-ice Xi3 245/40

Bridgestone Blizzak WS90

The Blizzak nameplate is one you've probably heard before because it's proven time and time again to be one of the best winter tires out there in terms of grip. 

The Blizzak WS90, specifically, is the newer version of the Blizzaks that uses a special multicell ™ technology in their winter tread compound. This technology essentially "absorbs" water on the surface of the road.

The pockets of water that the compound absorbs provides better traction, believe it or not. 

 

GET THE BLIZZAK WS90

 

 

The tradeoff with this tire is longevity.

Despite being the best in its class for winter grip, this technology is incredibly soft, leading to quicker wear.

To combat this, Bridgestone's special multicell ™ technology is only present in the first 55% of the tread pattern AND features 30% block stiffness for an extra season of wear, compared to the previous generation Blizzak. 

Regardless, the Blizzak WS90 is seriously one of the best winter tires out there if you experience lots of snowy-packed roads. 

 

2017 Subaru Crosstrk Touring | Bridgestone Blizzak WS90 245/40

Quick Facts | Bridgestone Blizzak WS90

- 15% more block edges + 30% more block stiffness for an extra season of wear

- Ideal for areas with extremely snow-packed roads

- Patented Multicell ™ Technology 

- Starting at $498

 

VIEW BLIZZAK SIZES HERE

 

The Bridgestone Blizzak WS90 on a Subaru WRX STI

2020 Subaru WRX STI Limited | Bridgestone Blizzak WS90 245/40 

Continental VikingContact™ 7

Aside from the fitting name, the VikingContact™ 7 is a great example of a winter tire that's packed full of tire technology that you'd expect from a brand like Continental. 

And Continental's little tagline for this tire says it all...

German engineered safety to master the Nordic winter. - Continental 

 

GET THE VIKINGCONTACT 7

 

 

VikingContact™ 7 is Three-Peak Mountain certified and features a directional tread pattern with diamond-shaped tread blocks and sharp edges that act as another biting edge for the snow. 

Paired with the 3D zig-zag siping across the contact patch and what Continental has dubbed their Nordic rubber compound, this winter tire is a beast in the snow. 

 

A modified white Subaru WRX STI in heavy snow with the Continental VikingContact 7 tire

Zach's 2017 Subaru WRX STI | Continental VikingContact™ 7

Quick Facts | Continental VikingContact™ 7

- Soft, Nordic rubber compound 

- Three-Peak Mountain certified

- 3D Trapez sipes with varying thicknesses and edges

- Excellent drainage capabilities

- Packed full of Continental's tire technology

- Starting at $472

 

EXPLORE VIKINGCONTACT 7 TIRE SIZES

 

Zach's 2017 Subaru WRX STI running the Continental VikingContact 7

Zach's 2017 Subaru WRX STI | Continental VikingContact™ 7

Nexen WinGuard Sport 2

Nexen WinGuard Sport 2 is going to be much different than your average winter tire because it features characteristics from a directional and asymmetrical tread design.

 

GET THE WINGUARD SPORT 2 HERE

 

 

This is because Nexen wanted to develop a winter tire for some rowdy, spirited winter driving. 

They are super affordable, provide great winter traction due to the tread's thousands of sipes, and provide great stability. 

 

Dakota's yellow 2003 GTI in heavy snow

Dakota's 2003 Volkswagen GTI | Nexen W

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